Trans employees accuse Whole Foods of discrimination
Three trans women say that the Whole Foods' high-quality standards didn't match up with the way treated as employees.
Alana Monroe claims she faced transphobic comments from her coworkers while using the restroom at the Bryant Park Whole Foods Market.
Monroe says she took her concerns to her boss but was dismissed.
She filed an official complaint in an email, detailing blatant transphobia that store leadership refuses to acknowledge - and has absolute fear of being discriminated for it.
Monroe isn't the only one. Samantha Horton claims to have dealt with similar behavior from her colleagues at the same location.
She also says that getting promoted was a challenge.
Noelani Porch transferred from the Bryant Park Whole Foods location to the Harlem store before beginning her transition and claims she notified management, but coworkers continued to use her dead name.
Porch felt it was important to educate her colleagues about her journey, but says she was asked not to by her superiors. She says the final straw occurred after being threatened by a customer.
Porch and Horton were both terminated on what they believe to be baseless accusations. Monroe is still employed there but went on medical leave due to the emotional toll it took om her.
Monroe says she returned to sex work at one point and felt that the experience was less harmful than working at Whole Foods.
All three hired attorney Laine Armstrong to pursue legal action against Whole Foods. Armstrong says she has seen a growing numbers of trans, gender non-conforming and intersex clients come to her.
The employment attorney says a Supreme Court ruling from June 2020 - Bostock vs. Clayton County, Georgia - specifically addressed trans discrimination in the workplace.
A Whole Foods spokesperson tells News 12, "We do not comment on pending litigation, however, Whole Foods Market has a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination and retaliation of any kind. We are proud of our diverse and inclusive work environment."
All three confirm that employees are trained, but it wasn't enforced. Armstrong says it's a common legal loophole.